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Development starts on prototype hydrogen fuel cell Hilux

Investigating into a zero-emission solution for the commercial vehicle market
Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd receives funding from the UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) for zero-emissions vehicle development. This project specifically covers the development of a hydrogen fuel cell powered prototype Toyota Hilux, using our latest 2nd generation fuel cell technology for the transformation.

Funding from the UK government

Driven by an evolving customer demand and Toyota’s holistic approach to mobility across all sectors, we could identify a new opportunity in the commercial vehicle market in terms of a zero-emissions product offering. We successfully applied for APC funding last year, presenting a project to contribute to the development of new, cleaner technologies and mobility solutions. The APC plays a fundamental role in the UK automotive landscape and offers unique opportunities to bridge the gap between industry and future technological requirements. This funding specifically supports later stage R&D that takes a product from proof of concept to prototype vehicles.

Video ©APC

Led by Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. (TMUK)

The consortium, led by TMUK, receives funding to cover the development of a fuel cell electric Hilux. In collaboration with highly skilled UK based engineering partners, namely Ricardo, ETL, D2H and Thatcham Research, the project’s aim is to adopt second generation Toyota fuel cell components (as used in the latest Toyota Mirai) for the transformation. While TMUK is leading the project, a team from Toyota Motor Europe (TME) R&D will provide expert technical support to enable the UK-based teams to build their own expertise and self-sufficiency to develop next generation hydrogen drivetrain capabilities.

Multi-technology for everyone

For over 20 years, Toyota has been promoting a multi-path approach to carbon neutrality by offering a diverse vehicle line-up including electrified technologies such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell electric. The development of a successful hydrogen transport sector is an essential building block towards this goal. 

The initial prototype vehicles will be produced at the TMUK site in Burnaston during 2023. Following successful performance results, the target is to prepare for small series production. This project represents an exciting opportunity to investigate an additional application of our fuel cell technology in a vehicle segment that is key to a number of industry groups and will help support the sector’s move towards decarbonisation.


The UK is one of the key markets for pick-up trucks and is an important market for Toyota. This funding represents a tremendous opportunity to develop a zero- emission solution in a critical market segment. We would like to thank the UK Government for the funding that will enable the consortium to investigate the development of a fuel cell powered powertrain for the Toyota Hilux, supporting our carbon neutrality ambition.
Matt Harrison, President and CEO at Toyota Motor Europe

About the Consortium:

Ricardo - a global strategic engineering and environmental consultancy that specialises in the transport, energy and scarce resources sectors. They will support the technical integration of the fuel cell components into the Hilux chassis.

ETL - European Thermodynamics is committed to delivering high integrity thermal solutions through excellence in design and innovation. They will support in delivering state-of-the-art thermal management solutions.  

D2H - The D2H group of companies provides high technology engineering services in simulation, modelling, aerodynamics, thermodynamics and design for motorsport and other high-performance industries. Their thermodynamic expertise will be crucial to the project.

Thatcham Research - Thatcham Research was established by the motor insurance industry in 1969, with the specific aim of containing or reducing the cost of motor insurance claims while maintaining safety standards. They will support in terms of crash safety and insurance ratings.